How To Own Real Estate In Your Self-Directed IRA

Posted on March 8, 2017 by

Decade after decade, it seems like real estate keeps coming through. While any asset class can have a down year – or even several down years in a row, as the real estate investment community saw between 2008 and 2010 – real estate remains a proven long term wealth generator year after year, decade after decade, and generation after generation.

That’s what makes real estate an ideal investment for your retirement portfolio – and even in a special kind of IRA, called a self-directed IRA.

Some people still believe the myth that IRAs don’t allow you to own real estate. This is because Wall Street companies that only sell stocks, bonds, funds, annuities and other kinds of paper assets. They aren’t compensated to sell real estate, and so they don’t pitch it, other than to sell real estate investment trusts, or REITs, which are still securities, rather than direct real estate assets themselves.

But it is very easy for you to own real estate assets of all kinds within a self-directed IRA – even direct ownership of rental properties. 

Here are some of the different ways you can own real estate for your retirement portfolio via your IRA.

Flipping Houses. You can set up a self-directed IRA with American IRA, LLC and use it to buy, fix, and flip houses at a profit. Many people have done well with this strategy, which can work even in bear markets for real estate, as long as you buy at an advantageous price and work fast!

Rental Real Estate. Your IRA can own rental property – anything from single-family homes to apartment buildings to commercial properties to resort properties. Note: If you own rental real estate, you cannot receive rent payments directly. All rents and other cash flows have to go directly back into your real estate IRA. Otherwise they may be construed to be distributions, which potentially generate income tax liability and early withdrawal penalties. In some cases, the IRS will disallow the entire IRA and force you to distribute the entire account, which can generate a great deal of tax liability. Contact us for details, or download our free pamphlet on real estate IRA investments.

REITs. These are real estate investment trusts: Special securities required by law to hold most of their assets in real estate and distribute at least 90 percent of income to investors. You can hold these assets in a conventional IRA – there are many that are traded as securities on the stock exchanges. However, you may want to explore non-traded REITs, which generally sell at a deeper discount compared to their more liquid peers. You may be able to get a higher yield on your invested dollar by going with non-publicly traded REITs, but you may have more trouble selling these less liquid securities if you need to. They may be a good option for sophisticated investors with a long time horizon.

Private Lending. You can use your IRA to lend money on real estate – whether in mortgages, home equity loans, hard money lending, bridge financing or private debt placements. All of which are entirely possible with a self-directed IRA. The terms are up to you. The only restriction is you cannot lend to certain relatives and relatives of your spouse, nor to people who advise you on your IRA in a fiduciary capacity. Call us for further information on disqualified persons.

Jim HittJim Hitt is the Chief Executive Officer of American IRA and he has been committed to all aspects of investing for more than 30 years, using self-directed IRAs for his own investments since 1982. Jim’s forte is the financing and acquisition of real estate, private offerings, mortgage lending, business’s, joint ventures, partnerships and limited liability companies using creative techniques.

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